Prayer: Like Driving by Moonlight
Sharon Vincz Andrews
Our recent supermoon made me think of driving down dark country roads near my parents’ home at Lake Lemon years ago. Sometimes the moon was so bright that we turned off the headlights. On a dark night, even with headlights, a driver can see only 150–500 feet ahead. But we don’t stop driving, do we? We don’t fear what might be ahead in the gloom. We trust the limited light to take us forward.
I think daily prayer is something like that.
A recent Gallup survey indicates that 55% of Americans say they pray daily, 79% say they have prayed for themselves when ill, and 87% for someone else who was in need of healing from an illness. These results fly in the face of what is often presented as increased secularization of daily life and the popular culture that says prayer is a waste of time — i.e. its just “doing nothing.” Or, the messages out there that say God doesn’t really exist, so of course prayer is useless.
When I pray, I affirm God’s goodness and Love. I embrace myself as God’s image and likeness. And then I say “no” to what appears as evil or limitation in life and in the world. I read the Bible, listening for new inspiration from the life of Jesus Christ. I study Bible interpretations such as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, rejoicing in some new insight and comfort.
Then, just like driving in the dark with the headlights on, I move forward with the light I have — with that day’s inspiration. I might also look for the beacons of light shared by others on the road before me — especially those who have been healed or saved from disaster when they turned to the Divine. I’m willing to take a forward step because I trust the light to be enough to illuminate the present moment.
Trust in God and our own spiritual growth is a gentle thing. The Bible says: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” I’ve had proof of this in my own life.
Years ago I had a farm that went into foreclosure because I couldn’t make the payments. I felt desperate, defeated, and alone. I called a friend to pray with me. Each day, step by step I prayed and, within a week, a perfect solution appeared — sell the timber — and the crisis was averted. The dear man who came to buy the trees later became my husband and a father to my son. This kind of experience isn’t unique to me. You, too, can trust that your prayers are providing just the light you need.
Jesus said, in his preface to the Lord’s Prayer, “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place…. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.” (The Message).
It takes some humility and trust to set aside the cynicism and doubt, and to listen with expectation of a little grace, a little light. This moment by moment light comes in daily prayer. It’s really all we need to move forward.
This article originally appeared in the Bloomington, IN Herald-Times, Saturday, February 25, 2017.